But let’s play out this idea.
Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on
age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age
progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get
older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots
of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a
fixed number of years apart — say, 10 years.
Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at
posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures
could end up generating a lot of useless noise. People don’t
reliably upload pictures in chronological order, and it’s not
uncommon for users to post pictures of something other than
themselves as a profile picture. A quick glance through my
Facebook friends’ profile pictures shows a friend’s dog who just
died, several cartoons, word images, abstract patterns, and more.
In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple,
helpfully labeled set of then-and-now photos.
I think it’s very fair to say we should all assume the worst with Facebook all the time now. That’s why I posted my 10-year challenge to Twitter instead of Instagram.